UN envoy sees broad coalition as best option for government in Iraq

UN envoy sees broad coalition as best option for government in Iraq

A broad-based coalition government in Iraq is a better alternative for the people of that country who are eager to see a stable administration, the United Nations top envoy to Iraq told the UN Security Council Tuesday, adding that the political leadership also recognizes the need for constitutional transition following elections in March, Xinhua reported.

"At this juncture, Iraq would probably be better served by a broadly inclusive government as a radical alternative to exclusion and disenfranchisement that many communities have experienced in the past," Ad Melkert, the special representative of the UN secretary-general for Iraq, told the 15-nation Council.

He said the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) was constantly encouraging parties that won seats in parliament in the March 7 elections to come to an agreement on the formation of a government guided by three principles -- a governing coalition inclusive of all major winning parties; a government based on power-sharing; and a government formation process within an agreed timeframe.

Iraq's political blocs are still discussing the formation of a new government.

Melkert described the elections as a turning point for Iraq, but drew the Council's attention to the fact that violent incidents in the country had left 2,000 Iraqis dead and 5,000 others injured so far this year.

"It is imperative that the international community condemns and isolates the perpetrators," he said. "This would be to the benefit of an orderly transit towards a new Government as a critical moment for creating a political environment conducive to meaningful dialogue and power-sharing."

Just on Monday, a newly-elected member of Parliament, Bashar Al- Ouqeidi, was gunned down in the volatile northern city of Mosul.

Melkert condemned the assassination in the strongest terms and urged Iraq authorities to pursue and bring to justice the perpetrators of what he described as a "despicable act."

The special representative said the Iraqi government faces the challenge of responding to the people's high expectations that political and security progress will translate into economic growth, the creation of jobs and lead to an improvement in living conditions.

"Failure by the next government to address the needs and aspirations of the population will predictably be a source of increasing instability and undermine the gains of the democratic process so far," Melkert said.

He said that UNAMI's impartial outreach to try to foster reconciliation between different Iraqi communities and interests in Ninewa province had generated positive results. The province has a history of disputes and political divisions between its Arab and Kurdish inhabitants.

Turning to the regional dimension of situation in Iraq, Melkert urged neighboring countries to capitalize on the region's strengths to boost security and economic growth.

"Constructive engagement, rather than interference, would be of great benefit to all," Melkert said.

In remarks to the media following the session on the situation in Iraq, the Lebanese UN ambassador, Nawaf Salam, who holds the rotating Security Council presidency for May, said the Council had commended Iraq's electoral commission on the successful manual recount of ballots and the announcement of the outcome in the Baghdad governorate, and looked forward to the ratification of overall election results by the federal Supreme Court.

The Council also called for the quick formation of an inclusive government that reflected the will of the Iraqi people and condemned all acts of violence, Salam said.

Addressing the Council, the Iraqi permanent representative to the United Nations, Hamid al-Bayati, repeated his government's demand that sanctions imposed on Iraq in respect of weapons of mass destruction be lifted, saying that the director-general of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had written to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stating that the agency was receiving "excellent cooperation" from Iraq in the implementation of the comprehensive nuclear safeguards agreement.

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